Education and Skills Development in Tourism/Hospitality with 2030 vision in Saudi Arabia

Thamer Alharbi

Tourism is one of the largest and most dynamic sectors of the global economy. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, tourism’s growth is being fueled by record levels of investment. In fact, the Kingdom is the largest investor in tourism in the world. Such growth will bring with it a huge range of opportunities for both men and women in the Kingdom in the years ahead.

Based on the Saudi Vision 2030 goal of reducing the unemployment rate to 7% in the next eight years, alongside the goal of raising the level of community participation in tourism, a focus on education and training will be critical for creating job opportunities for young people everywhere in the country, but particularly in communities that are tourist destinations. In October 2020, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib, announced the strategy for developing human capital in the tourism sector. The strategy includes 20 programs: 15 of them educational and rehabilitation programs. These educational and training programs target students and employees, including both those already working in the sector and those who want to work in it. The strategy seeks to develop the human capital to fill 1 million jobs over the next ten years, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, which prioritizes developing the tourism sector and enhancing its role as a driver of national GDP and development.

Among the most notable parts of the citizen’s version of the 2022 budget was the launch of the “e-tourism education” platform by the Ministry of Tourism, with 226,000 people registering and 137,000 employees and prospective employees benefitting from sector-relevant training in 2021 alone. Then, in June 2022, the Ministry of Tourism launched the world-leading  “Tourism Pioneers” program, which aims to develop the capabilities of 100,000 young Saudi men and women as well as provide them with important skills in the fields of hospitality and tourism. The expected outcomes of the “Tourism Pioneers” program are to develop the skills of workers in the tourism sector to adapt the sector’s need for local talent. It will also provide practical training opportunities for Saudi youth to improve their skills and support growth and employment opportunities within the sector. Such a program will prepare our youth in KSA to start their career path and to be an essential element in the booming tourism sector in the Kingdom.

Therefore, considering the huge demand for employees, especially for ‘giga projects’ in KSA such as the Red Sea project as well as several other ambitious initiatives, human development has never been more important, nor has improving the image of our sector. Quality education and training in tourism and hospitality will help build career paths and put young people on course for a successful and bright future. And the benefits will be felt even wider as entrepreneurs and businesses rethink how they operate and take advantage of new ideas and new talent.

Thamer Alharbi

Lecturer and public relation manager at Faculty of Tourism, KAU

Thamer Alharbi    

Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism  from Widener University   

Bachelor of Tourist Administration King Saud University 

Official Trainer by Ministry of Tourism and  Technical and Vocational Training Corporation              

Lecturer and public relation manager at Faculty of Tourism, KAU 

Did you like this article and are interested in learning more about the fundamentals of tourism? Then we invite you to enroll today in the Introduction to Tourism- Industry management MOOC!